Business books are the new diet books. There is a new one on the shelf every week and everyone is convinced it's got the tactic that will finally work for you. Unfortunately, they rarely do. After all, not everyone can be skinny and not everyone can be rich.
Nonetheless, people flock to the cash register, hoping that the secret to success is a Barnes & Noble away. Author and business guru Keith Ferrazzi clearly knows the power of a good pedigree and a catchy title when it comes to securing a spot on the bookshelves of business enthusiasts for his new release Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time.
As with any strategy or advice book, much of Never Eat Alone's credibility rests on the achievements of the author. Ferrazzi certainly has the resume, as he was the youngest partner ever at Deloitte Consulting, the youngest chief marketing officer for a Fortune 500 company, a CEO and finally, a founder of a sales and marketing consulting and training firm.
The book works well as an overview to network development from a seasoned pro. However, most of Ferazzi's main points are as easily available on the bookjacket as they are within the pages. His best advice seems tailored to his unique situation and skillset rather than the general population.
Ferrazzi is all about networking, yet he detests the structured networking opportunities available in the business world. He claims to have neverparticipated in a networking event. Maybe Ferrazzi did not follow the formulaic road to business power. This does not mean, as Ferrazzi seems to suggest, that everyone who attends networking events will not make connections.
No one is denying that Ferrazzi is a powerful personality and masterful relationship builder. But will reading his book make the average corporate Joe one, too? Because Ferrazzi never convinces his readers that his special brand of winning friends and influencing people is teachable, his bragging about the number of contacts he has and the dinner parties he throws seems more belittling than inspiring. Despite his achievements, or perhaps because of them, much of the book functions as a roadmap to Ferrazzi's life. Certainly his evolution from his poor country youth to his cutting-edge business lifestyle is impressive. However, the "here's what I did" format works better with a big name honcho like Jack Welch than a self-declared guru like Ferrazzi.